Leila, the Perfect Witch (9781536220506) / Leila, la brujita perfecta (9781536225389) by Flavia Z. Drago. Candlewick Press, 2022.
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Format: Hardcover picture book
What did you like about the book? Leila is an adorable little witch with buck teeth and purple hair. She is excels at many witchy activities, such as flying, conjuring, shape-shifting and carving, and she has won more trophies than her three big sisters Adelfa, Fer and Lucy. She has her heart set on winning the upcoming Magnificent Witchy Cake-Off/”¡El magnífico brujiconcurso de repostería!” Apparently, she is from a long long of experts in the “Dark Arts of Patisserie.” But, baking turns out to be much harder than Leila expects, and there are some disastrous kitchen events. Finally, after being coached by her sisters, Leila produces her pièce de la résistance: a cake shaped like a spooky gray ghost with tentacles. Alas, Leila does not win the cake-off, but she comes home to a proud family who loves her and together with their familiars, they have a huge feast where they all eat cake.
This is a delightful, cozy story with lovable witches in a peaceful, happy family. I love Ms. Drago’s art, which is full of Mexican folkloric accents, such as papel picado and Day of the Dead skulls. Other fun details are gingerbread houses (with skulls!), teapots with faces, and lots of adorable little helping familiars running around. The Spanish edition retains all of the charm, even when substituting other expressions in Spanish that fit the bill, such as “La repostería resultó ser todo menos pan comido!” for “…baking wasn’t such a piece of cake!”
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? Perfect for little ones who love witches or baking, or for a non-scary Halloween story time.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries, especially those who want to augment Spanish language collections.
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: September 10, 2022